- Associated Press - Friday, July 10, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - For seven innings, Minnesota Twins starter Mike Pelfrey matched All-Star lefty David Price step for step.

Pelfrey was one pitch from making it through eight when the Detroit Tigers ended his night.

Ian Kinsler had a leadoff homer, a double and three RBIs to back Price’s eight effective innings as the Tigers beat Pelfrey and the Twins 4-2 on Thursday.

The score was tied 2-all with two outs in the eighth when Kinsler hit an RBI double off the top of the left-field fence, chasing Pelfrey.

“I threw the ball belt-high down the middle and got what I deserved,” Pelfrey said. “Wasn’t good enough today. He’s pretty good on the other side. I don’t know if he had his best command early, but he made pitches with guys on and that’s why he is who he is. He was obviously better today and they won.”

Price (9-2) struck out eight in his final start before going to the All-Star Game. He allowed five hits and two unearned runs.

Pelfrey (5-6) gave up four runs and eight hits in 7 2-3 innings. Torii Hunter had a base hit and an RBI, but Minnesota had its three-game winning streak snapped.

“It’s not hard to be better than the last couple starts I have been,” Pelfrey said. “Frustrating night and I didn’t come through. It cost us the game. It’s the way it is.”

Marc Krauss hit a leadoff single in the eighth for Detroit but was thrown out at the plate on Anthony Gose’s double. One out later, with Gose on third, Kinsler connected on a two-strike pitch.

Yoenis Cespedes added a run-scoring double off Blaine Boyer to make it 4-2.

Kinsler hit the second pitch of the game into the left-field seats, his 32nd career leadoff homer.

It was an ominous start for Pelfrey after he struggled mightily in his previous two outings. But the big right-hander settled in after that against a lineup that has continued to pile up the runs even while slugger Miguel Cabrera has been on the disabled list.

The Tigers scored 7.2 runs per game in the first five since Cabrera strained his calf, but they had to scratch and claw for everything they got against Pelfrey.

“Mike kind of rebounded from a couple of rough outings,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “After the leadoff home run, he settled in fairly well. Price is tough. He kind of showed us that he had that extra gear when we had a couple opportunities early and kind of like yesterday, we didn’t take advantage. You wonder if that’s going to cost you in the long run.”

Joakim Soria earned his 20th save in 22 chances.

Price was sharp as usual, and the Twins needed an error from third baseman Nick Castellanos and another ball to glance off his glove in the fifth to help them score their two unearned runs.

SCHOOL FOR SANO

Minnesota rookie Miguel Sano has impressed with his ability to work counts and get pitches to hit. He hit safely in each of the first seven games of his major league career. But Price handled the heavy-hitting Sano with a mix of off-speed pitches.

Price struck out Sano three times. Sano went hitless in four at-bats, the first time in his eight-game career that he did not have a hit.

“He hit a bullet to center field the one time he got a pitch he could handle, but the changeup he just couldn’t quite stay back far enough,” Molitor said. “Every time he would swing, it would disappear on him. He got a steady diet of those.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Twins RHP Ricky Nolasco will have surgery Monday to try to correct a chronic issue in his right ankle. He is expected to miss six to eight weeks.

UP NEXT

The Tigers will send RHP Justin Verlander (0-2, 6.75 ERA) to the mound Friday to face Twins RHP Ervin Santana (0-0, 2.25). Verlander was tagged for seven runs in five innings by the Blue Jays in his last start. Santana will be making his second start since returning from an 80-game suspension for taking a banned substance.


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